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What is decimating inside of Desert-Bird-of-Paradise branch?

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

What is (eating?) the inside out of my Desert Bird of Paradise branch . . . ?
Some of the bark has apparently dried up & 'disappeared'.

The only thing I can think of is the bug that usually kills the sunflower bushes around here, which enters the stem, and at the hole you see 'sawdust' as it proceeds to consume the center of its stems. But . . . I also wonder if it could be some king of fungus infection, or perhaps something else. . . .

The damaged area is extensive on this plant, as it seems to have eaten out the very center of the branch, as well as the layer between the bark & the core!

A few years back, I saw the same --or similar-- symptoms on an older specimen nearby, which eventually made their way through that entire plant! (If I recall correctly, the owner tried cutting off infected parts, to no avail.)

I'd sure like to know --for sure-- *what* is causing this problem, and, *how* to stop it from happening to other plants. (For now the top continues looking pretty normal, somehow.)

Also, what *all* should I do to this plant to *save* it, if that is plausible. It is only about 5-6 years old, and was a *teensy-tiny* transplant that had come up in another part of the yard.

(I now just use *fresh* seeds & *keep* them moist,
which sprout within 3 days in the heat of summer.)

Thanks to any & all who can shed some light on what I am dealing with, here. I have a row of these plants just inside my back wood fence, and enjoy looking out at them from my desk. (:

Regarding the photos, the directly-affected area is about 7-8 inches long, about 4-5 inches up from the crotch, & about 1-1.5 inches wide.

Thanks Again! (:

This message was edited Oct 17, 2012 2:41 PM

Thumbnail by 2QandLearn Thumbnail by 2QandLearn Thumbnail by 2QandLearn
Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I found this info from UC-Davis on Wood decay fungus in Caesalpinia, but couldn't find any info on Borer Pests...all sites said common pests were white fly, mealy bug and aphids

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

Thank You! I guess it's the 'dry rot'.

Now I need to figure out what to do about it, and, how.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Good luck. I am not sure if there is a lot that you can do. From what I read, it starts below ground with the roots and with the BOP, can actually be caused by poor drainage 18 inches below the surface of the soil.....I also read about Texas root rot in BOP' may have to go to the root source for your answer....

Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

I think they did get underground water runoff from a ways away (thanks to gophers, no doubt), as a very nearby cacti got 'wet rot' and died after getting cut back. So, last year I cut two BOPs down, due to both showing signs of dry rot. Now I notice that they have both sprung up again, with lush, new, growth 1' tall . . .

No, I didn't dig the roots out, as there was/is a healthy BOP growing close enough that its roots are likely in the same vicinity as those of the plants I cut down, (as well as some Aloes being there). I am hoping that, as long as its roots don't get damaged, it will be able to resist the dry rot. . . .

I am also wondering if I am potentially causing more harm for other plants if I let the plants that showed definite signs of dry rot continue to grow, or not.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Bravo on the new growth. It sounds like you cut away the problem. I would adopt a wait and see attitude where the other plants are concerned...maybe treat the general area with a fungicide?

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